COVID-19 - Information for parents/carers

17th March 2020

You will no doubt be aware of the statements made by the government yesterday regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.  These are challenging and ever-changing times and we continue to make our decisions and act in the best interests of the students, staff and all members of our community.

We are guided by three main wishes at this time:

  • To operate a safe and healthy school
  • To remain open in line with government instructions
  • To provide an excellent education

Please take the necessary precautions regarding your own children - we do not have the resource to make these decisions for you.  Government advice states that to prevent further spreading of the virus, anyone with (or living in the same household as anyone with) a temperature of 37.8°C (100°F) or a “new, continuous cough” should not come into school for 14 days from the onset of symptoms.  It is imperative that this guidance is followed for the health and welfare of the rest of the school.  

With the school required to remain open but with staff and students affected by this advice now required to self-isolate, you will appreciate that this presents significant logistical challenges for the school, as well as personal and emotional ones for the individuals concerned.  To help us manage this difficult situation, we would be grateful if you could:

  • Monitor your child’s health carefully and, if appropriate, inform the school by email or by phone of your child’s absence and the reasons for it
  • Ensure students in Years 7 to 11 bring a reading book into school
  • Ensure students in Years 9 to 11 charge their devices overnight and bring in a cheap pair of earphones

Understandably, there is some concern among Year 11 and Year 13 students regarding this summer’s GCSE and A Level exams but any decision regarding this will be made by Ofqual, the regulatory body for the exam boards, and we will keep you updated with all information as it comes to us. At the moment the best thing to do is to prepare properly for them - if they are delayed that work will not be wasted.

The school has already taken steps to address the developing situation including increased provision of hand sanitisers, reminders to the students about the importance of personal hygiene and cancelling our assembly programme. We are now seeking to cancel or postpone all non-essential matters of school business. For the duration of this term, we will not be running any extra-curricular activities before or after school and all external sporting fixtures and concerts will not go ahead as planned. Students should leave the site by 3.30pm at the latest. Essentially, we will be reducing our operations to the basic core business of a school and, in time, this is also likely to be compromised by increasing staff absence. This means that all non-urgent meetings with parents and visitors will be cancelled or postponed.

Where possible, we will be seeking to develop ‘social distancing’ practices in school, including: the operation of queues outside for the canteen services, dispersal of students across classrooms which will be well-ventilated and closure of the library at break and lunchtimes.

Students will be reminded of their responsibilities at this time at school. Specifically, these include handwashing and personal hygiene and excellent behaviour around school. The pressures on staff are extreme at this time, and students need to make sure they play their part in keeping school positive, calm and safe.

With thanks for your ongoing support, and with thoughts and best wishes to you all and to your families in these most challenging of times.

Published on 17/03/2020

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